Pre-analytical separation of whole blood for blood borne virus NAT testing

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Change to the pre-analytical procedures for processing EDTA whole blood samples for the Abbott RealTime HIV, HBV, HCV viral load and HCV genotyping assays

Blood samples which are submitted to NVRL for blood borne virus (BBV) Nucleid Acid Testing (NAT) can be now separated up to 24 hours following collection. Previous guidance required separation within 6 hours.

It is anticipated that this change to procedure (from that outlined in the Abbott product information) will simplify sample handling and facilitate routine - rather than urgent - trasnport of samples from the clinic to the laboratory. Published data on the stability of BBV nucleic acid in whole blood samples indicate that no detectable decline in viral load occurs after 24 hours of storage at room temperature. Validation of the new procedures at the NVRL, support this observation.

In addition, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the specimen retention policy for BBV NAT samples in NVRL. Samples submitted for BBV viral load testing are currently stored on site for 4 months from the date of report.

Please refer to the NVRL user manual for full details on the specimen collection and storage requirements for BBV NAT tests. If you have any queries in relation to the above please don’t hesitate to contact the molecular sectionod the NVRL.